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Sisters hurt in London have surgery

Missing New York man feared killed in terror attacks



Duke University
Acts of terror

(CNN) -- Two Tennessee sisters injured in Thursday's terrorist attacks in London underwent reconstructive surgery Monday at Duke University Hospital to close blast wounds to their feet, one of the surgeons involved in their treatment said.

Meanwhile, the State Department confirmed Monday that a U.S. citizen is missing and presumed dead in the London terrorist attacks.

Emily and Katie Benton, who arrived Sunday in Durham, North Carolina, are "totally stable at this point" and appear to be dealing well with their ordeal, Dr. Gregory Georgiade said at a news conference.

"When somebody blows you up, it's not a real good day. They're coping with it. They will need some support relative to that," he said.

"These young ladies are very strong individuals. They do have a lot of faith and a lot of family support."

Monday's surgery involved transferring tissue from other parts of their bodies to close the wounds on their feet, Georgiade said.

The American who is presumed dead was believed to have been caught in the explosion on a train near King's Cross station.

"We have reason to believe that the individual was in harm's way and has not turned up or otherwise made contact with his friends and family members in London. And we're looking to verify the situation," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Monday.

While the State Department did not release the victim's name, a search has been under way for Michael Matsushita, a 37-year-old native of the Bronx in New York City.

A friend of his who flew to London to take part in the search, David Golovner, told CNN that police have said they believe Matsushita is dead.

Matsushita's family did not immediately return telephone calls from CNN.

Four Americans known to have been wounded in the blasts -- the Benton sisters and two others who were treated and released. They have not been identified.

The U.S. government last week said it knew about the four wounded, but did not find out until later about the person presumed dead.

Casey said the government has received more than 1,000 calls from people looking into the "welfare and whereabouts" of people in London, one of which led to information about the American feared dead. He said 212 of the inquiries have not yet been resolved.

"Obviously, we'll be working both here in the department and in London to get resolution to those cases," he said.

Benton sisters were on vacation

Georgiade said the sisters, both college students from Knoxville, Tennessee, on vacation in London, were just 10 feet from the bomb that exploded in a subway car near Edgware Road.

The benches in the train and the people surrounding them, some of whom were killed, likely shielded them from more life-threatening injuries, he said.

Emily Benton, 20, suffered bone and soft-tissue damage to her right foot and one hand; one eardrum was blown out and her corneas were superficially damaged by debris, Georgiade said.

Katie Benton, 21, suffered an injury to the tissue in her right foot and ankle and one hand; she also had eardrum and corneal damage, he said.

Their ear injuries were being furthered evaluated, but each of them had one ear that was not injured, he said.

The Benton sisters were transferred to Duke after an orthopedic surgeon in Knoxville referred the family to a surgeon there, Georgiade said.

The hospital then worked with the family and British and American authorities to bring the sisters back to the United States after they had received initial medical treatment at London's Charing Cross Hospital.

Prior to their departure, they were interviewed by Scotland Yard, and the sisters had to obtain new passports to replace ones lost in the blast, he said.

At the news conference, Georgiade also read a statement from the Benton family saying it appreciated "the support of friends and concerned citizens who have lifted our family in prayers."

CNN's Elise Labott contributed to this report.

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